Accutone Pisces BA Hybrid IEM - Reviews
Pros: Quality accessories. Clean, clear and resolving sound
Cons: Limited accessories. Random (significant) variations in frequency response. Price. Annoying inline control
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Accutone is a company that specializes in hands-free communications solutions but they've taken their experience and expertise and used it to create a series of consumer earphones. From their website:
"Accutone Audio is about music, and our love of music has pushed us to build products that remove the barriers between the musicians and their audience. Continuing our corporate motto of "Clearer Communication Brings People Closer", our audio products are able to do just that by delivering exceptionally accurate audio output, just as our beloved artists envisioned."
 
Today I'll be looking at Accutone's flagship earphone the Pisces BA hybrid.
 
Disclaimer:
 
This product was sent to me for the purpose of an honest review. All opinions and observations here are my own, based on my experience with the product. I'd like to thank Angus from Accutone for the opportunity to test the Pisces BA.
 
Accutone online store
 
Product page
 
Specifications:
 
Hybrid Unit Model: Knowles WBFK
Hybrid Sensitivity (dB/SPL): 101 +/- 3dB SPL; 1kHz
Impedance: 32Ω
Frequency Range (Hz): 20-22kHz
Cable Length: 1.3m
Noise Isolation: 26dB
 
Packaging and accessories:
 
The moment you see the box it's immediately apparent that this is a high-end or flagship offering. The exterior is a clear plastic box with a cardboard insert wrapped around a large storage case. On the front is a nice, clear image of the earphones with the Accutone branding at the top left and in large bold print at the bottom "FOR AUDIOPHILE". On the back is another image again showing the earphones along with the inline control.
 
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Upon opening the package the first thing you'll notice is the lovely white leatherette case which is remarkably similar to those you get when buying a quality wristwatch. When you open it up you see the earphones firmly seated in a layer of grey foam, lifted up slightly to showcase the earphone's design. The earphone's come equipped with a pair of Comply tips. It's the sort of presentation that I haven't experienced before and it's very pleasing and enticing at the same time, giving an impression that you've just uncovered something rather special.
 
Lifting out the foam insert reveals the cable neatly coiled around a cutout ensuring that it's not kinked or tangled. Finally at the bottom is the standard Accutone pleather carry case, this time in a pristine white color along with a small bag containing a spare pair of Comply foam tips, warranty card and "Birth Certificate" card that shows your earphone's unique frequency response - an interesting and novel inclusion. After a quick glance at the Birth Certificate I thought surely this must be a mistake. But I digress, more on that later. Here is when I got my initial pang of disappointment because I've had plenty of experience with Comply tips and have yet to find any that fit my large ear canals. So I looked in the box again to make sure there wasn't another bag containing silicone tips but alas...nothing. What? You're kidding me right? I would once again need to go to my personal stash of oversize tips to get a fit and seal. Suddenly the premium unboxing experience had started to turn sour for me because when you look at what is actually provided there's not much to it at all.
 
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Build, comfort and isolation:
 
The Pisces BA is a unique looking earphone, there's no doubt about that. The nozzle and casing is a nicely machined and polished, high quality aluminium. Attached to the housing is a long, white, curved stem at the bottom of which is Accutone's proprietary MMCX connector. I touched on the connector briefly in my review of the Taurus but I'll talk about it again here. I actually really like these connectors. They're much easier to attach and disconnect than the standard connectors yet they feel just as secure, have a nice audible click when you plug them in and they rotate freely. Brilliant. It's clear from the packaging and aesthetics that the Pisces BA is trying to make a statement. There's no sign of any Right and Left indicators and this is something that infuriates me every time I find them absent.
 
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The cable is white to match the curved stems of  the earphones. I quite like the look and feel of this cable. It's soft and malleable and does not feel sticky or unruly and microphonics are fairly minimal. The strain reliefs are all small and feel a little bit stiff but they appear as though they should be effective for everyday use. There's a 3-button inline control with microphone which is unfortunately the same as the one found on the Taurus model. It feels a little cheap though the buttons are responsive with solid clicks. What I really don't like about it is the very sharp edges on either side of the middle button which at any given opportunity will snag on shirt buttons and collars when you turn or move your head.
 
Using my own ear-tips I find these fairly comfortable to wear and isolation is average for this style of earphone so they do a decent job of blocking external noise and are suitable for use outdoors or in transit. Because the MMCX rotate these can be worn over-ear or cable down but due to the stems I found cable down to be more practical.
 
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Sound:
 
Sources:
 
FiiO X1ii
Benjie K9
PC/JRiver Media Center > JDS Labs The Element
 
The Pisces BA are fairly easy to drive and worked well with all the sources I tried while remaining consistent in their sound output so I don't believe amplification is necessary and any modern smartphone or digital player is adequate for use.
 
After seeing the frequency response curve during the unboxing I didn't know what to expect in regards to the sound. Well actually I did kind of know what to expect but I was desperately hoping that there was an error in the graph or that it didn't represent the true sound. Well within seconds of listening I knew that the curve was accurate and as a result I personally would not get much enjoyment from these. The sound makes me think of taut piano wires, trips to the dentist and the subsequent drilling of teeth. Yes, this is what I would call a treble cannon.
 
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At first I thought my pair were defective as I had read earlier reviews from other members whose opinions I trust and respect because they were describing a full, weighted bass while mine had next to none. Looking at the Birth Certificates in other reviews I noticed that they were sitting somewhere around 106-108dBSPL while mine were 93-95dBSPL. I contacted the company to ask if my unit was defective but they told me that the Pisces BA were designed so that every one has a unique frequency response. In theory I thought it was an interesting concept to have slight variations on a general sound signature but a 15dBSPL difference in bass response is by no means slight. It's an entirely different earphone. Let's continue...
 
Bass is fast and well controlled in general. Obviously with the unit I received there's no bleed into the mids because there's just not enough quantity to infringe upon any other frequencies. The little bit I do hear actually extends very well and the sub-bass can dig deep.
 
Midrange brings lots of clarity and has a somewhat airy presentation. The lower mids are a bit recessed, especially when compared to the upper mids which are well forward so naturally these are better for female vocals, leaving male voices sounding a little thin. Detail and tonality are very good throughout and the sound is very clean and uncluttered but I would certainly appreciate some additional body in the lower mids.
 
These have treble. Lots of treble. In fact it dominates the entire presentation, at least in the unit I have. Having said that it's a reasonably smooth sounding treble which adds to the sense of airiness. It's fairly even without any noticeable peaks or dips although in "Traveling" by Utada Hikaru there was some sibilance present. If it were balanced out with some bass I'd probably find it considerably pleasing.
The Pisces BA has a reasonably large soundstage with good imaging. I feel this is partly enhanced by the exceptional clarity throughout the dynamic range.  In Mathias Eick's Midwest the percussion instruments are projected well outside of the head-space which is always impressive to hear from an IEM.
 
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Comparison:
 
Pisces BA vs LZ A4 ($195 USD):
 
In terms of comfort the Pisces BA comes out slightly ahead due to its uniform rounded housing which doesn't have any edges to press against your ears. When it comes to resolution the Pisces BA comes out slightly ahead with its exceptional clarity, separation and sanitized cleanliness. Where the A4 shines is in its smooth and relaxed presentation and organic naturalness that makes it so easy to listen to and is loaded with musicality, not to mention its wide range of customization options with various filter combinations. When it comes to accessories the A4 is very generous while Accutone's offering is sparse in comparison.
 
Conclusion:
 
I feel a real sense of missed opportunity with this IEM. It shows a lot of technical ability and sonic precision which could have been great if not for the massive imbalance in the frequency curve. There's just not enough weight in the low frequencies to balance out the sound and it becomes a "treble cannon". What it does it does extremely well with agility and finesse and I find myself being envious of other reviewers who received a "bass enabled" version. Accutone tells me that variations in the frequency response is intended and not accidental or due to poor quality control. They wanted to make each unit unique which is not a bad idea but it's apparent that these variations can be enormous to say the least.  On their website it says
"The clean, sharp and detailed trebles from Knowles BA plus the natural, firm and powerful bass of a traditional dynamic speaker"
 
Sorry the bass on the unit I have is anemic and diminutive. There's also no mention of the variations at all on their website which I feel is misleading. When buying in this price range I think most people would like to have a firm idea of what it is they will be getting but with differences of up to 15dBSPL it's more like a very expensive lucky draw and you could end up with either a bass monster or screaming treble banshee.
 
In this mid-fi price range I would also expect a more generous set of accessories. The ones you do get are of a high quality but they're seriously lacking in quantity. I'd like to see some silicone tips included at the least. I've no doubt that other variations of the Pisces BA would be stellar in terms of audio quality but I genuinely feel that for the asking price of almost $400 USD it's quite a gamble if you don't know what sort of frequency curve you'll pull out of the hat.
 
B9Scrambler
B9Scrambler
Well written review with fair criticism. The variance in bass between our units is a disappointment for sure.
crabdog
crabdog
B9Scrambler
B9Scrambler
If you weren't on the other side of the planet, yup :D
Pros: tight, clear sound. Great sound stage and separation
Cons: plastic materials used, proprietary mmcx cable
DISCLAIMER:
 
I am not a professional,  I do not use charts and graphs, nor do I know all the audiophile lingo.  I'm just a single dad, and music nut who finds escape in music.  I love to listen to it with great sounding headphones or iem's through good sources!!
 
I would like to thank Angus at Accutone for his generosity, and being an all-around great guy.  I am in no way affiliated with Accutone...just giving an unbiased review.  
 
The Pisces BA retails for 389$
 
 
REVIEW:
 
The overall presentation of the Pisces BA is fantastic!  When you're unboxing it feels as if you're opening a treasure chest. 
 
 
 
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These iem's are beautifully displayed on top of everything else inside so they are the first thing's you see.  Underneath, you find the mmcx cable, birth certificate, sound graph chart, tips, and white magnetic case all nicely packed together.
 
 
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    I have to be honest,  I was turned off by the design with the long ended connectors.  The fact that they are plastic poses a problem.  I also thought they would be a hinderence to the overall comfort.  Putting them in my ears, I had absolutely no comfort issues, and the winged ends posed no problems what so ever (I still don't like them).  I wore these guys for roughly 3 hours in one sitting and had not one comfort issue.   
    I also don't like the proprietary mmcx connectors, and that really limits the use of third party cables.  I am not very rough with my IEM's, but I don't care for the cable as it feels flimsy and easily breakable.  
 
 
SONGS USED/SOUND QUALITY
 
 
fela kuti:  tears,        sweat, and blood
Leonard Cohen:      the partisan
elbow:                       fly boy blue/lunette
Neil Halstead           oh! mighty engine
Fleetwood mac:      sara
wye oak:                  we were wealth
other lives:              english summer
james blackshaw: spiralling skeleton 
teebs:                       viewpoint
Morrissey:               everyday is like sunday
 
 
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 specs:
Housing
Plastic
Driver Unit
1 DD + 1 BA driver
Frequenzy range
20hZ – 22kHz
Sensitivity
101dB
Impedance
32Ohm
Weight
14 g
Cable lenght
1.3m
 
I received the best fit with the comply tips that came pre-applied
 
 
Ah the sound!  the build quality, and the mmcx connection and cables are forgotten.
 
Listening to James Blackshaw's spiralling skeleton is magical, and hypnotizing while listening with the Pisces.  I never understood "hearing the air between the strings" before listening with these.
The instrument separation is fantastic, the sound stage is fairly wide vertically and horizontally.  For clarity I listened to a couple elbow tracks and while all sounded incredible, fly boy blue/lunette stood out to me.  It is one of my favorite songs.  there is a lot going on in that song, and everything was reproduced beautifully!   The bass was meaty, but tight.  The highs were airy, and wispy, not shrill (if you are an elbow fan, Guy Garvey's voice, using the wrong iem's can give off a scalpel like sibilance).  listening to Leonard Cohen's the partisan was fantastic, and the timbre was outstanding.  Sara by Fleetwood Mac is another song I know every nuance of, and the mids are reproduced gorgeously.  
 
    the mids, highs, and lows were all fantastically reproduced in everything I listened to, all extended well.  I am not a bass head, and the bass was quick, punchy, and dug deep when called for.  the mids were full of life, and lush.  The highs were wispy, and airy.  I experienced no sibilance what so ever with the Pisces BA.  The sound, was engaging and exciting.
 
while this is my first iem in this price range, it is my opinion that with the lack of accessories, proprietary mmcx, and overall build may be a turn off to some or even a deal breaker.  the sound in my opinion, makes up for everything else lacking in the Pisces BA
Pros: Sound quality and comfort
Cons: Cable, proprietary MMCX, no chinslider, low on accessories
This is a review of the Accutone Piscesa BA IEM’s.
 
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The Accutone Pisces BA was sent to me from Accutone for free for the purpose of me making a review of them. I’d like to grab the opportunity to say thank you to Angus at Accutone for letting me try them out, THANK YOU!
 
The Accutone Pisces BA is on sale at the Accutone web store and the price at the time of this review was $389:
 
http://www.audio.accutone.com/product-page/d235d1e4-d138-4329-4d0f-63ff0dca16f9
 
I’m not in any way affiliated with Accutone.
 
About Accutone Audio:
Accutone Audio has been around for over 40 years but it’s only the last couple years they’ve started to produce consumer oriented in ear monitors. Before that they were fully focused on making speakers and professional equipment for call-centers and other similar business. This is what they say about themselves on their homepage:
 
“We love music. Sometimes it feels like music is the only thing that really unites us. It is the medium which truly transcends culture, race, gender and age. Music is the most effective means to bring people closer. Although this may be good enough of a reason why we build headsets, it is definitely not the reason why we are able to build excellent headsets.
 
Accutone has been making some of the world's best headsets for decades, and our goal has always been about bringing people closer. In the past, our focus was on providing the best communication tools for businesses in the form of telecommunication headsets for call centers and corporations. We know that in order to really bring people closer, we have to build headsets with great sound quality, reliability and durability. We are able to do so, because we are passionate about what we do, and we have the knowledge and experience of how to make the best headset.
 
But we haven't forgotten why we started everything in the first place. We love music, and we want everyone to be able to enjoy music in the most accurate form as our beloved musicians intended. If we are able to do that, we will have achieved our goal of bringing the world closer.”
 
About me:
I’m a 44 year old music and sound lover that changed my focus from speakers to headphones and IEM’s about five years ago. At that time I realized that it wasn’t realistic for me to have all the different setups that I wanted and still house a family of four children and a wife so my interest turned first to full sized headphones and later also IEM’s.
 
My preferences are towards full sized open headphones and I believe that also says something about what kind of sound signature I prefer (large soundstage in all directions, balanced and organic sound).
 
My music preferences are pretty much all over the place (only excluding classical music, jazz and really heavy metal). My all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode although I also listen to a lot of grunge/indie, singer/songwriter/acoustical stuff as well as the typical top 40 music.
 
I do not use EQ, ever.
 
I tend to value function over form within reasonable limits.
 
I’m a sucker for value for money on most things in life Head-Fi related stuff is no exception.
 
Built and accessories:
The Accutone Pisces HD is a hybrid in-ear monitor featuring one dynamic driver and one Balanced Armature driver.
 
AFAIK it comes only in one flavor: in the color white with a microphone for iPhone.
 
The build and design of the Pisces BA is identical to that of the Pisces HD that I recently reviewed as well so most things in this session will be very similar between the two reviews. The only difference I can really find between these two, except the color, is that the metal part of the housings is considerable larger on the BA’s. This leads me to believe that the BA’s packs a larger DD than the HD’s but this is just a guess.
 
The detachable cable is round and flexible but still feels a bit on the cheap side. Although they’re possible to wear over the ears this doesn’t feel very natural to me so I’ve been using them straight down. Microphonic are present when moving around but it’s not any worse than o your average pair of IEM’s so not a big deal but it’s still there. Unfortunately they’re also missing a chin slider which is a shame to me since I love my chin slider. The strain reliefs are in place but neither the housing nor the cable has any left/right markings so the location of the microphone is the only way to tell which side is which.
 
The cable uses MMCX connectors but unfortunately Accutone has opted for a proprietary version of it and this makes getting replacement cables a challenge. The location of the connectors on the side of the houses does also makes me a bit worried about long term usage. The cable includes a microphone for fruit products but the answer/end call, combined with the pause/play feature, does also work great with Android. The quality of the microphone seems to be very good. 
 
The build in general seem pretty solid despite being a bit plastic fantastic. The housings are all plastic but still feel fairly well made and very solid and the Y-split is also solid despite being quite small. I said in my review for the Pisces HD that the build quality was fine at the price ($89) but I do believe that at $300 more the Pisces BA should have offered more solid materials. To be more specific I think they should’ve metal body, a better quality cable and a more common form of connectors at this price.
 
The retail package is very nice for the price point but unfortunately the accessories are a lot less than I'd expect at this price point and include only the following:
2 pairs Comply foam tips
1 pouch to store them in when not in use
 
The Accutone Pisces BA is very easy to drive to drive and they've worked very well with all the sources I’ve tried it with including cellphones. I don’t find them to benefit significantly from a more powerful amplifier.
 
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The specs:
Housing
Plastic
Driver Unit
1 DD + 1 BA driver
Frequenzy range
20hZ – 22kHz
Sensitivity
101dB
Impedance
32Ohm
Weight
14 g
Cable lenght
1.3m
 
Fit and ergonomics:
The design of the Pisces BA is not something you see on the average IEM’s and I’ve got to admit that they look pretty slick. The “bow” on the housings makes them fit only with shallow insertion for me this may not be true for everyone though. The Pisces BA are really comfortable for me to wear and I hardly even notice that they’re there.
 
Both the included foam and silicone tips works well for me but the Pisces BA are quite sensitive on tips and fit (especially for bass reproduction) and I ended up using them with some triple flange silicone tips for best combination of sound and comfort with my ear anatomy:
 
Isolation is about average, maybe slightly over if using the included foam tips or triple flanges (not included). With music playing I wouldn’t say that isolation is a big issue with them though.
 
Sound:
I’ve used them back and forward in the last month and they’ve played for well over 100 hours. I’ve used them both around the house and when out and about and I haven’t really found any significant weaknesses in the way they’re designed.
 
I’ve used them mostly with my LG G5 phone and the bit Opus #11 but I’ve tried them with a number of other sources as well and they’ve worked very well with all of them. I’d like to specify that’s not often, if ever, I’ve come across a pair of IEM’s that sounds this good such a variety of sources.
 
As already mentioned I enjoy the Accutone Pisces BA the most with triple flange silicone tips.
 
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Demo list:
Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia
Røyksopp (Feat.Susanne Sundfør) – Save Me
Ane Brun – These Days
Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana
Metallica – Die Die My Darling
The Peter Malick Group – Immigrant
Eva Cassidy – Songbird
Thomas Dybdahl – A Lovestory
Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
Celldweller – Unshakeable
Jack Johnson – Better Together
Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo remix)
Dire Straits- So Far Away
Passenger – Let Her Go
Lupe Fiasco - Deliver
Morrissey – Earth Is the Loneliest Planet
 
This is the third pair of Accutone IEM’s that I’ve reviewed in the last couple of weeks and I feel as if I’m starting to get a picture on the Accutone house sound by now. The overall sound signature on the Accutone Pisces BA is a bit v-shaped with amazing clarity and resolution supported by great bass drive and a huge soundstage.
 
The sub-bass extension is really good and the layering in the lower bass is also very good. Mid-and upper bass is also well present with a very low amount of bass bleed into the midrange. The quality of the bass is really good and I’d even go as far as saying that this is some of the best bass I’ve ever heard in a IEM, the bass quantity is pretty much spot on for my preference and the quality is really god throughout the whole lower frequencies.
 
The midrange is slightly recessed but apart from that i  feels very well balanced and controlled. The characteristic of the midrange is clean, natural and airy with a huge amount of details present. Male vocals and string instruments has enough weight to feel natural and female vocals are very enjoyable and non-fatiguing. In total the midrange has great clarity, transparency and resolution. Although the midrange is a bit further back in the mix than I ideally prefer its qualities are impeccable and feels very high end.  
 
The treble extension is also very good but the treble is a bit on the thin side for my preference. This combined with the great resolution and revealing nature of the Pisces BA does occasionally give me a bit more pronounced “s” and “t” than I’d prefer for a perfectly natural presentation, the same goes for cymbals. Despite this the Pisces BA’s are still a surprisingly relaxed listening given its revealing signature.
 
Clarity and micro details are extremely good as is transparency and resolution. All of these are among the best I’ve ever heard in an IEM. Soundstage width is huge while depth and height is good.  The Pisces BA is probably the most revealing IEM I’ve ever heard and the amount of details present with it have made me stop up when listening to very familiar tracks because it presented something that I haven’t heard before, or at least not this clearly. The Pisces BA’s does also offer an amazing “out of the head” presentation making them a bliss to use with music like Sting, Thomas Dybdahl  and Lil Dicky with sounds popping out all around my head.
 
The Pisces HD sounds great with all music I’ve tried it with but in my opinion it performs its best with electronic music like Røyksopp, Robyn and Gareth Emery as well as with music like Lil Dicky, Lupe Fiasco and Kayne West.
 
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Comparison:
Please note that the comments in the comparison section are not in absolute terms but in comparison between subject A and B. This means (as an example) that if subject A is found to be brighter than subject B it does not necessarily mean that subject A is bright sounding in absolute terms. I hope this makes sense.
 
These comparisons were done listening from my phone through the LG G5 with the Hifi Pus module installed.
 
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Aurisonics ASG-1PLUS ($499) vs Accutone Pisces BA:
Both of these are hybrids using one BA and one DD, the 1PLUS uses a 14.2 mm dynamic driver while the size for the dynamic driver in the Pisces BA’s is unknown. My guess, based on the housing size and sound, would be that the DD in the Pisces BA is about the same size. These two are a perfect example on how different IEM’s with the same driver configuration can sound, despite both being excellent they’re like Yin and Yang when it comes to the way they sound.  The Pisces BA’s definitely has more bass presence and drive in its presentation. Bass quality is also better on it to my ears. The 1PLUS are a mid-centric pair of IEM’s and hence vastly different to the V-shaped Accutone’s. The 1PLUS is also lush and overall quite soft and delicate in its characteristics while the BA’s has higher resolution and better detail retrieval. They both have quite similar treble extension but the 1PLUS has that extra amount of warmth and richness to make its treble more to my liking. While they both offer great soundstage in all directions the BA’s might actually have a bit more width while both are top notch when it comes to 3D and “out of the head” presentation.
 
I find both of these to be extremely comfortable.
 
Despite both having plastic housings I’s say that build quality is better on the 1PLUS and I also much prefer the two-pin connectors on its cable.
 
They 1PLUS are harder to drive.
 
Isolation is a good deal better on the 1PLUS.
  
Venture Electronic the Duke ($199) vs Accutone Pisces BA:
The Duke is also on the brighter side in its signature but that’s also one of few similarities between these two. Compared to the Pisces BA the Duke has quite a bit less sub-bass presence and the sub-bass also rolls-off earlier with them. The Pisces BA does also have more mid-bass giving them an overall fuller presentation. The midrange on the Duke is more forward but the BA’s has a fuller midrange with more presence o\in the lower mids while the Duke has more energy and more presence in the upper midrange. The Duke actually sounds a bit hollow and shouty in direct comparison. The BA’s does have a bit thinner treble presentation as well as slightly better extension in the top.
 
Fit is excellent for me with both of these.
 
Build quality is ok on both but the Duke pulls ahead with their metal housings and better cable.
 
The Duke is harder to drive.
 
Isolation is better on the Duke.
 
Super Audio 6 ($259) vs Accutone Pisces BA:
The Pisces BA’s, once again, has more bass presence and drive in its presentation. Especially sub-bass is better on the BA’s, reaching deeper and having more presence. Bass quality is quite similar to my ears. The SA 6’s are mid-centric with a more intimate presentation but also more natural sounding vocals, male voices does also have more weight with them. The BA’s have a bit better treble extension but the SA 6 has a fuller upper register making it more natural sounding. While they both offer great detail retrieval and clarity the Pisces BA has a lot more air in the presentation, higher resolution and also a much wider soundstage making the SA 6 sounding congested in comparison.
 
I find both of these to be extremely comfortable.
 
Despite both having plastic housings I’s say that build quality is better on the 6BA’s and I also much their standard MMCX connectors.
 
They 6BA’s are harder to drive.
 
Isolation is much better on the 6BA’s.
  
Summary:
The Accutone Pisces BA is an amazing sounding pair of IEM’s and is certainly up there among the best ones I’ve ever heard, maybe even the best. If the treble had been only slightly thicker and the midrange a bit more forward they’d been pretty much perfect for my preferences. Unfortunately they’re let down by a bad quality cable combined with the choice of a proprietary MMCX solution making third party cables a no go. While this was acceptable with the $89 Pisces HD I don’t find it acceptable at this price point.
 
Despite the choice of a proprietary MMCX solution the Pisces BA is an excellent sounding pair of IEM’s with bass quality, resolution, detail retrieval, and soundstage width all being among the best I’ve ever heard in any IEM’s. If you’re looking for a great sounding pair of IEM’s in the sub $500 bracket and plan to use them mainly at home or in the office I’d still consider the Accutone Pisces BA an excellent contender.
 
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peter123
peter123
@BartSimpson1976 IIRC I actually tried with a regular MMCX cable but wasn't able to connect it. I can re-do it when I get home tonight and confirm but TBH I'm pretty sure it won't fit. 
peter123
peter123
@BartSimpson1976 My memory was correct, regular MMCX cable won't fit on them. 
BartSimpson1976
BartSimpson1976
ok, thanks for checking! Then what's the use of detachable cables?
Pros: Exciting yet non-fatiguing sound - Great presentation - Surprisingly comfortable to wear
Cons: Material quality - Cable - Accessories
Greetings Head-fi!
 
Today we are going to be looking at Accutone's current flagship earphone, the Pisces BA.
 
Since 1969, Accutone has been delivering businesses and regular consumers alike with quality products. Their primary goal is to bring people closer, be that through music or communication. It's clear that they are well-versed in the industry and that the knowledge and experience garnered over numerous decades has been put to good use crafting their latest series of consumer products.
 
From the energetic Lyra, to the Pavo with it's dual dynamic driver setup, to the Gemini HD with it's three filter options, Accutone has done an excellent job of offering both competitive and unique products. The Pisces BA continues this trend and is Accutone's only earphone using a hybrid dynamic driver/Knowles balanced armature setup.
 
Disclaimer:
 
I would like to thank Angus with Accutone for providing the Pisces BA in exchange for a fair and impartial review. I am not receiving any financial compensation for this review and all comments and views within are my honest opinions. They are not representative of Accutone or any other entity.
 
The Pisces BA retailed for 389.00 USD at the time of this review; http://www.audio.accutone.com/pisces-ba
 
Follow Accutone on Facebook!
 
A Little About Me:
 
Over the last couple years I decided to dive head first into the world of portable audio. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI's multi-earphone review thread and being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own reviews. Fast forward a couple years and I've had the opportunity to write about some great products for wonderful companies like RHA, Havi, FiiO, NarMoo, Brainwavz, and Meze. I don't do it for money or free stuff, but because I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to an earphone that makes them happy, I'll consider that a job well done.
 
The gear I use for testing is pretty basic composing of an HTC One M8 cellphone, Topping NX1 portable amplifier, and my aging Asus G73 gaming laptop paired with a Plantronics Rig USB amp. An XDuoo X3 has recently been added to the crew and was used for the majority of my testing. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. When it comes to signature preference I tend to lean towards aggressive and energetic, but I try not to limit myself to one signature only. I also tend to listen at lower than average volumes.

 
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Packaging and Accessories:
 
The Pisces BA's packaging gives off a premium air and makes the product feel very special. When you realize this is the same package included with their much less expensive and prior flagship, the Gemini HD, that feeling is dulled somewhatl. Since the Pisces BA's unboxing experience is very similar to that of the Gemini HD, some of the following may seem familiar to those who have read my review of them.
 
Covered in a cardboard sheath displaying the Pisces BA is an immaculately stitched large white leatherette case, very reminiscent of a high end watch or jewelry box. I'm surprised this case isn't mentioned on Accutone's product page or in the store because it's absolutely gorgeous and would be an enticing feature to advertise should someone be looking to buy a high end pair of headphones as a gift. Heck, it even smells amazing.
 
Opening the box you are greeted by the comforting smell of leather and the Pisces BA earpieces standing proudly on display. Lifting the foam layer out you see the removable MMCX cable wrapped neatly underneath around another cutout. It does an excellent job ensuring the cable isn't kinked or bent upon first use.
 
The bottom layer of the case holds a now-familiar portable white leatherette case, similar to that provided with the Lyra, Pavo, and Taurus, and the same as that provided with the Gemini HD. While I really like this case, it isn't ideal for the Pisces BA due to the size of the housings. It's hard to get everything comfortably in the case without detaching the cables. Since they use MMCX connectors, removing the cable should be done as little as possible to ensure a secure connection long into the future.
 
You are also provided a spare pair of Compy eartips and two information cards about the size of a standard business card. The first card has a unique QR code used for warranty and promotional purposes on one side and a mission statement on the other. The second card is a little more interesting. One side features the earphones statistics;
 
Hybrid Unit Model: Knowles WBFK
Hybrid Sensitivity (dB/SPL): 101 +/- 3dB SPL; 1kHz
Impedance: 32Ω
Frequency Range (Hz): 20-22kHz
Cable Length: 1.3m
Noise Isolation: 26dB
 
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The other side shows your particular Pisces BA's frequency response curve, lovingly titled as it's "Birth Certificate". This personal touch is pretty cool.
 
While the presentation is excellent and the quality high, at nearly 400 USD the complete lack of extras seems like a major oversight. It would be nice to see Accutone revisit this product and revise it's accessory kit to better match the cost of entry. Maybe something like this would work?
 
- slightly larger portable case that can more comfortably accommodate the Pisces BA with cable attached
- more tips; one set of dual flange and one set of triple flange both in medium size, one set of single flange tips in s/m/l, plus the two sets of Comply tips already included
- a second, higher quality, more professional feeling cable intended for over-ear wear sans inline mic and with a chin cinch
 
Updating the Pisces BA's accessory packaging to something like the above would improve the presentation and add more value to the overall package.
 

 
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Design, Build, Comfort:
 
One look at the Pisces BA and you can tell style was an important factor in their design. The design and shape is very unique in that the driver units are contained in their own separate, neatly machined, aluminum housing. Attached is a slightly curved plastic plate displaying Accutone's logo at the top. At the bottom is the MMCX connection point. The two pieces are at odds with each other and the cable clips in somewhat awkwardly, almost as if it was an afterthought, but together as a whole it works. It's an interesting looking product that definitely catches your eye.
 
When it comes to build and material quality, the Pisces BA is a bit of a mixed bag. Build quality of the housings is perfectly fine. The aluminum is neatly machined without any blemishes or sharp edges. The curved plastic, while clearly made of multiple pieces, fits together well and doesn't feel flimsy or fragile. That said, it also doesn't feel like a premium material that would warrant a nearly 400 USD price tag. This would be more forgivable were the cable something spectacular, but alas, it is not.
 
This cable is the same as that used on their Taurus model, and is actually less substantial than the cable found on the Pegasus C, one of their entry level models. It is thin above the y-split and of average thickness below. I'd be generous in saying that strain relief is minimal at best. There is no relief at the 90 degree angled jack It is very short and stiff leading into the y-split and remote. Heading up to the housing, there is a long relief but it too is quite stiff. Not so much of an issue here due to the rotating, removable cable, but elsewhere more effective relief would be welcome. On the plus side, the cable is well-behaved. Microphonics (cable noise) are minimal, it is very flexible, and does not hold memory at all. This is a good cable that needs some extra strain relief to help ensure greater long term durability. I'm not sure if the MMCX connections are proprietary, but none of the spare cables I have worked out since the connections are quite stubby. Most of the MMCX cables I owned would fit, they just wouldn't lock in place and therefore were unusable.
 
The inline mic is made entirely of plastic and feels fragile, especially compared to the quality of plastic chosen for the housings. The buttons depress with defined clicks and are easy to tell apart from each other due to the ergonomic design. Microphone quality is simply alright. My voice comes through fairly clear, though there is some notable background static that intrudes on your conversations. Since the cable provided with the Pisces BA was intended for use with Apple's iDevices, only the centre button was functional.
 
Isolation seems pretty decent and is listed at 26 dB. I found they did a good job of cutting out background noise, and were entirely serviceable for listening in noisy urban environments.
 
Due to the rotating cable the Pisces BA can be worn cable up or cable down. Despite their size this earphone is quite light so cable down wear seems most natural, especially given the length of the housings. That said, I found wearing them in either orientation very comfortable. The primary portion of the housing is a standard barrel shape without an angled nozzle, so the Pisces BA is very easy to seat in your ear.
 
Overall the Pisces BA features a unique design let down by non-premium materials and a cable that desperately needs to be upgraded to something more suitable of a flagship product. Simply re-purposing the Lyra or Pavo's cable into a removable design would be a large step in the right direction.
 

 
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Sound:
 
Tips: The included Comply tips are an excellent match for the Pisces BA. If you prefer to use silicone tips, you have lots of choices. The Pisces BA's nozzle is a fairly standard size so you can toss on pretty much whatever you want. I found tips with a semi-wide bore, such as Ultimate Ear's UE600 tips, worked quite well in matching the sound you get from the included Comply tips.
 
Amping: Not at all required. The Pisces BA worked amazing well with anything I tossed at it, maintaining a surprisingly consistent signature regardless of the source used. They're also pretty easy to drive. I'd be surprised if you found an amp necessary to bring them up to volume.
 
At this point I have experienced a number of Accutone earphones, from introductory products like the Lyra to their prior flagship the Gemini HD. Most have been quite good and competitive at their respective price points, sharing qualities that I guess you could say are part of Accutone's house sound; non-fatiguing with a light and airy feel. Despite being a fairly bright earphone, the Pisces BA carries on this trend and sounds more than worthy of carrying the title of Accutone's flagship product.
 
This earphone does everything I would expect a hybrid to do. It firmly displays the positive qualities expected from a BA driver in the form of detailed and accurate treble with a lush, though mildly recessed midrange.
 
Many of my earphones containing BA drivers can be a little grainy in the treble, but the Pisces BA remains silky smooth from top to bottom. Despite there being a lot of treble presence, it is never harsh or fatiguing and there is still a notable amount of warmth to the signature. My cousin whom has preferences quite the opposite of my own came away from a listening session with the Pisces BA shocked at how listenable they were for long periods, despite being so treble heavy.
 
The midrange is always clear and open, aided by a large and almost 3D-ish presentation. The buttery texturing really pairs well with softer vocals but doesn't do more gruff, aggressive vocals much justice. As a result I feel they pair best with female vocals, or male vocals that are higher pitched. Guitars have excellent presence but again, a touch more texture and detail would be appreciated to bring out the most in recordings.
 
Bass on the Pisces BA is what you would expect from a well-tuned dynamic driver. It's punchy, quick, and has great extension. Texture and detail are good, but not as impressive as something like the Echobox Finder X1. The X1 isn't anywhere near as smooth, however, so the trade off in detail for listening ease makes sense.
 
The Pisces BA has a very large and open soundstage for an in-ear. Unlike my experiences with most earphones, this one's soundstage extends around your head quite nicely and gives a very solid impression of depth, width, and height. Imaging and placement were also excellent. These things are amazing for gaming and have become my go-to for World of Tanks and Battlefield when I'm not using my AKG K553 Pro or HiFiMan HE-350.
 
Overall the Pisces BA gives you a fantastic auditory experience. Their sound is exceptionally refined and smooth, detailed enough, and with excellent extension at both ends. They are not at all fatiguing and are very easy to listen to for long periods of time.
 
Please see my blog for a comparison with the only earphone in my possession that offers up performance competitive with the Pisces BA. I was going to compare to my other hybrids, those being the 1More C1002 Capsule, Huawei AM175, and LZ A2S, but there is no comparison. The Pisces BA is quite clearly playing on another level. The Gemini HD, AAW Q and Echobox Finder X1 offer up similar levels of performance in some areas (midrange quality and detail) and are better in others (bass impact and speed), but overall they too fail to match the Pisces BA in all around performance.
 

 
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Overall:
 
The Pisces BA is a stellar earphone that falls short in material quality and overall value. If Accutone had continued to use more premium materials throughout the Pisces BA would feel much more deserving of their price tag.
 
Plastic being used for the housings is a minor disappointment. It doesn't feel amazing in hand, but it looks good at a distance and has shown itself to be quite resistant to scratching, so I'll give it a reluctant pass. On the other hand, the cable doesn't cut it. It is much to thin and fragile feeling for something nearing 400 USD. If it was better relieved this would be less of an issue. The included accessories, while of decent quality, are much too limited for something costing this much. At the very least some silicone tips in s/m/l sizes should have been included to make the earphone compatible with a wider variety of ears. I have quite a few different eartips to fall back on if the stock options don't fit, but not everyone is so lucky.
 
All that said, the Pisces BA does sound absolutely sublime. Most of my qualms melt away once I have them in my ears as I can easily get lost in my music for hours on end. It's only when they're waiting to be used that their faults stand out. Luckily, that won't be a common occurrence once you've heard them. The Pisces BA rewards you with an aural experience that far exceeds your average earphone.
 
Thanks for reading!
 
 
- B9Scrambler
 
 
***** ***** ***** ***** *****​
 
Test Albums/Tracks
 
BT - This Binary Universe
Gramatik - The Age of Reason
Hail Mary Mallon - Are You Going to Eat That?
Infected Mushroom - The Legend of the Black Shawarma
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
Skindred - Roots Rock Riot
Massive Attack - Mezzanine
The Crystal Method - Tweekend
Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass
The Prodigy - The Day is My Enemy
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Grand Funk Railroad - Inside Looking Out
Pros: Dynamic sound-stage, good clarity, excellent extension on both ends, detachable MMCX cable, Comply Eartips
Cons: Plastic, nonstandard MMCX orientation

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-Introduction-​

[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]At this point, I’ve reviewed three other Accutone IEMs, each of which had their strengths and weaknesses. The Pisces BA is Accutone’s new flagship hybrid IEM, and has fixed a lot of what was wrong with their previous products. However, it seems that for every issue fixed, another has been left alone. Coming in hot at $389, is the Pisces BA worth adding to your collection?[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]The Pisces BA is now for sale on Accutone’s official website. Find the link here.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Disclaimer: This review is based upon a sample unit provided to me by a manufacturer in exchange for my honest opinion and un-edited words. I do not profit in any way from the writing of the review. I would like to thank Ada and Jensen at Accutone for providing me with this unit.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoy-ability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Source: The Pisces BA was powered off of a Nexus 6P -> Creative Sound Blaster E3. All music was served as FLAC, ALAC, or as 320Kbps Mp3. I found the standard DAC/Amp inside my phone and PC to be adequate to drive the Pisces BA at near-peak levels of quality, but used the Sound Blaster E3 as it is a better pairing.[/color]

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-Tech Specs-
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  1. Drivers: 10mm Dynamic Driver, Knowles WBFK​
  2. Impedance: 32Ω ± 6.0 (20%) at 1kHz​
  3. T.H.D. + Noise: < 3%​
  4. Power Rating: 5mW​
  5. Interface: 3.5mm​
[/color] [color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Please note the above spec list was taken from the official Accutone sales card for the Pisces BA.[/color]

[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]
-Sound Signature-
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[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Initial Impressions: These impressions were taken before I’d seen any FR response graphs or measurements. Impressions are taken off of random songs in my music library.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]The Pisces BA is far and away the best-sounding IEM I’ve tested to date. Coincidentally, it is also the most expensive one as well, with my next most expensive IEM being $189 cheaper. Please do take note of this, as I do not feel that I have a good point of reference to grade the Pisces BA with. I will do my best to be as objective and fair as possible, and not let it get to my head.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]The Pisces BA is very, very transparent, and has a wide and deep soundstage, filled with air. I do not notice any major frequency response tilts. There is a very slightly boosted set of bass frequencies. My guess is that there is a slight elevation from 20Hz-200Hz, with the chart beginning to flatten around 250Hz. Treble is very well balanced with the mids, and has no strange sparkle or sheen.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Bass is the best I’ve heard, having the right level of wetness. Furthermore, it is very well shaped and extends very deep.[/color]
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[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Here is the frequency response chart that Accutone included in my packaging. It appears that they measure each individual Pisces BA unit and include the chart as a sort of “birth certificate”. Cool stuff, and I really appreciate the small touches like this.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]It looks like I was sort-of accurate. Bass is boosted, but doesn’t appear to be too far ahead of the mids and lower-mids. At 1KHz-1.5KHz there is small bump to assist the vocals, and a larger bump from 5KHz-10Khz.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Treble: Songs used: White FlagMidnight CityOutlands[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Treble is very clear, with a a tad of brightness, but is never sibilant. This does justice to the complex treble layering of White Flag, allowing the various vocal echos and audio effects to exist in the background without being drowned out by the rest of the song.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Midnight City performed very well. The intro’s synth was hard edged, but not aggressive. This lends the song a very airy feel. The drums punch through the song well, but don’t behave piercingly. I suspect the roll of starting at 12KHz helps in this respect.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Right off the bat, the Pisces BA shows tremendous restraint, toning the violins of Outlands’ intro well, and not making them too aggressive. There are at least two sections of violins that remain in the treble’s frequencies at any given time, and they stay separated very well. A lot of micro-details come through subtly, in ways I’d never really noticed before. This may simply be because I’ve not tested anything in this price-bracket, but is impressive to nonetheless.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Mids: Songs used: Flagpole SittaJacked UpI Am The HighwayGood Life[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Flagpole Sitta has a lot going on in the midrange, and the Pisces BA does a good job resolved them all individually, but in a cohesive manner. The vocals are present and forwards, and keep themselves in control of the song. The guitars are detailed, and have a wonderful tone to them.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Jacked Up’s pianos and vocal harmonies are resolved very well. Transparency, as I’d mentioned earlier, is top notch. Furthermore, vocal clarity is much higher than all other IEMs I’ve tested by a large margin, as I’m able to understand each word clearly. No more guessing what Weezer’s vocalist’s mumbling means.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]The intro to I Am The Highway was sonorous and lonesome, just as the producers had intended. You can hear the guitarists’ fingers slide along the frets of their instruments as they move from chord to chord. The drums and bass guitar both have a defined placement to them, and you can pick them out of the mix at all times. The vocals are definitely placed in the center and are at the forefront of the mix.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]The guitars of Good Life sound natural and lifelike, and are very engaging. They’re toned well, and don’t have any coloring to them (Ahem, Thinksound. Looking at you). The vocals, which often border on the upper-mids and treble, are pleasing, and stay in the foreground of the song the entire time. The artificial vocal harmonies that One Republic mixes in during the chorus are layered and sound great.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Bass: Songs used: LightsGold Dust99 Problems (Hugo Cover)Leave Me[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Bass isn’t overwhelming in the intro to Lights, as it is with many “bass boosted” earphones. The kick drum is relatively solid, with some good mid-bass response.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]In Gold Dust, the Pisces BA demonstrates its ability to reach pretty far down into the sub-bass region. While not as amped as a basshead would want it to be, the sub-bass quantity is tuned well for my tastes.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]It seems that Accutone tuned the Pisces BA to perform its best in songs like 99 Problems. Quantity and shaping of both mid and sub-bass are on point and incredibly cohesive. This allows the bass-overlain drums of 99 Problems to take on a very life-like feeling, bringing you closer into the song.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]I won’t lie. For songs such as Leave Me, I really do prefer the bass level of the Hidizs EX-01. The Pisces BA seems to be lacking the smooth rumble that it needs to really bring the Leave Me to life. Based off this and Gold Dust’s performance, I would say the Pisces BA probably isn’t a good choice for bassheads and frequent listeners of dubstep, trap, progressive house, and similar genres.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Clarity: Songs used: ThroneMap of The ProblimatiqueI’m Not Alright[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]As I mentioned earlier, transparency and clarity on the Pisces BA is the best I’ve heard. There was no distortion at all in Throne (that I could hear at least), with the Pisces BA being able to resolve the gravely-vocal harmonies, drums, guitars, and lead vocals simultaneously. Map Of The Problimatique and I’m Not Alright Performed just as well.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Male Vocals: Song used: Hotel CaliforniaAshes of EdenSunday Bloody Sunday[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Male vocals have an excellent timbre, and Hotel California really does show that on the Pisces BA. With the right amount of body, and a quick attack and decay, the Pisces BA does a great job bringing the vocals to life.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]I noticed little details and inflections in Ashes of Eden’s vocals I’ve never heard before. It wasn’t anything mind-blowing, but pleasant to know about. I’ve done some A/B testing with some of my other earphones, and found that I couldn’t hear these micro-details, even while knowing that they were there.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Female Vocals: Songs used: Stupid GirlNeed Your HeartCrushCrushCrush[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Garbage’s singer sounds good in Stupid Girl, and is toned very well. Honestly, I’m not too sure how to describe the vocals other than natural, lifelike, and engaging. I’ve yet to come across a song with female vocals in it that I don’t think followed this trend.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Sound Stage[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]The sound stage is moderately wide, moderately deep, and of average height. I’m not too sure how it compares to other IEMs in this price segment, as I’ve not heard them. However, the Pisces BA’s setup does allow it to feel like an intimate listening experience is some songs, and a symphonic experience in others. My favorite part about the sound stage though, is it’s airiness. It gives each instrument a very satisfying level of separation.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Comparisons[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]I’m not too sure how fair the following comparisons are, but with my current inventory of IEMs, this is the best I can do.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Pisces BA v.s Accutone Gemini HD (neutral filters)[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Honestly, it’s not even a contest between the Gemini HD and the Pisces BA. Like it’s younger brother, the Gemini HD’s mids have a strange muffle to them, making it difficult for the IEM to generate a convincingly natural sound. Furthermore, almost every aspect of the Pisces BA’s sound signature is a vast improvement over the Gemini HD. Clarity, extension, timbre, resolution: it doesn’t matter — The Pisces BA wins by a landslide.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Pisces BA v.s Echobox Finder X1 (neutral filters)[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]The Pisces BA is a far more balanced-sounding IEM than the Finder X1, given the X1’s titanium-treated drivers. Upper treble resolution is slightly better on the Finder X1, but not by a significant enough margin to notice most of the time. Lower mids and bass response are fuller and far more pleasant on the Pisces BA. In terms of sound signature, I’d take the Pisces BA. However when it comes to build quality, the X1 wins, hands down.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Pisces BA v.s AAW Q[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]The Pisces BA has a more relaxed upper treble than the AAW Q. The Q’s mids are slightly more forwards, along with a more emphasized mids-bass. The Pisces BA has a more extended and emphasized sub-bass by a smidgen. However, overall transparency on the Q is lower than on the Pisces BA by a considerable amount, making certain songs on the Q sound congested by comparison. That being said, I am still more confident in the Q’s structural integrity than the Pisces BA. I’ll elaborate further in the Build Quality section.[/color]

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-Packaging / Unboxing-
[/color]

[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]As with the Gemini HD before it, the Pisces BA feels luxurious to unbox. Housed in what could pass for a high-end watch box, the Pisces BA is found sitting in a well-cut indentation in a pleather platform.[/color]
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-Build-
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[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Construction Quality[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]The Pisces BA’s two main construction materials are aluminum and ABS plastic. Yes, that’s right. Plastic. Anyone who knows me can vouch for my eternal and unending hatred of plastic in my high-end electronics. It feels cheep and fake, and the white ABS curve on the Pisces BA is no exception. Honestly, for $389, I am deeply shocked! At this price point, you can buy a lot of really, really nice IEMs, such as the Campfire Audio Orion. For $389, you could even get a decent entry-level CIEM from a variety of manufacturers. For $399, you could buy a Noble Audio Trident. Remember Accutone, now you are playing in the big leagues. There is no space for hollow (I think) ABS![/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]That being said, I would like to shed some light on to why I think Accutone chose to go with plastic. Take a look at the curve in the Pisces BA’s body.[/color]
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[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Could you make that shape out of ceramic? Yes. However, I would be very nervous if you did do that, as ceramic is prone to cracking. Could you build that out of aluminum? Well, also yes, but how? Would it be solid aluminum? If so, the cost of manufacturing would go up significantly, as would the actual weight of IEM. How about a hollow aluminum structure? Well, yes, in theory you could. However this would mean the body is now prone to denting, and worse yet, collapse. The shape Accutone chose is a loose-loose on their end. I understand the desire to have an IEM that stands out from the rest of the crowd, but where do you draw the line of compromise? For $389, such a large presence of ABS plastic is unacceptable.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. As I mentioned earlier, the Pisces BA does also make use of a very solid aluminum driver-housing. It has a brushed/variegated finish to it, giving that part of the chassis a premium feeling. It’s fairly contradictory really, especially given the Pisces BA’s impressive sonic performance.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Onto the cable. It’s a detachable MMCX cable, with right-angled connections. Cable junkies beware, it’s nigh impossible to find a 3rd party maker who stocks the correctly sized and angled MMCX connectors. So far I’ve only had two out of ten companies tell me they could provide me a cable with a right-angled connector, one of which was actually a 60 degree angle connector. The cable that is included is fairly par for the course. It’s thin, and coated in your run-of-the-mill plastic coating. Again, I’m not impressed. I don’t get the meaty feeling of RHA’s cables, and I don’t get the elegant braided cables of Trinity Audio. Thankfully, Accutone does offer replacement cables if yours breaks.[/color]
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The cable terminates in a right-angled 3.5mm jack, which appears to be case-friendly.​
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[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Onto the controls. I had a similar problem with the Gemini HD — For a $389 IEM, such a cheap and frail-feeling set of inline controls is disparaging, and breaks the feeling of luxury you get once the Pisces BA is actually in your ears.[/color]
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[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Comfort[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]The Pisces BA is fairly comfortable, as it includes two pairs of Genuine Comply eartips. The Pisces BA has a fairly shallow insertion point, but doesn’t feel like it is going to fall out of my ears. In fact, despite the beefy aluminum driver-housings, I don’t feel the weight of the IEM at all.[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Controls[/color]
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Accutone sent the version of the Pisces BA with inline iOS controls. I don’t have an iOS device. However, fret not! Android users like me can select a cable with fully compatible set of Android inline controls. And for a limited time, you can select a dual-cable option for no extra charge.[/color]

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-Accessories-
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As is Accutone tradition, the Pisces BA is provided with a rather spares set of accessories. Included in the box, you will find one MMCX cable (or two if you get the promotion), one extra set of Comply eartips, and a small carrying case. The case is a little stiff at first, but after being worked a little-bit, closes well around the Pisces BA. Just don’t try to push them too far inside; The case is designed to have the aluminum part sitting parallel to the rounded top flap. Once fitted and sitting inside, the case is actually quite nice. The interior is soft, giving me no worries about damage via interior rubbing and what not. The case is small enough to fit inside my pocket with my wallet, so that’s a plus for portability.​
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-Summary-
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[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]The Pisces BA is a fantastic-sounding IEM with a airy soundstage, very good instrumental separation, and decent comfort. However, the inclusion of plastic and the thin cable makes me a little hesitant to recommend it at its current $389 price point. However, if the use of ABS doesn’t bother you, then by all means, take a look at the Pisces BA. It’s an exceptionally-sounding IEM.[/color]

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-Suggestions For Accutone-
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[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]Consider an alternative material to plastic. I understand it poses some considerable engineering challenges, but I think it will be worth it. If at all possible, a thicker and more premium-feeling cable would do well by many audiophiles. Had the Pisces BA checked those boxes, I would have absolutely no issue recommending it.[/color]
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